Admittedly, the internal setting of amplification via internal jumpers is somewhat awkward. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the Lake People G103-P MKII portable is a powerful-sounding headphone amplifier that is excellent value for money. It would be extremely difficult to find an alternative to the Lake People G103-P MKII that can be used so flexibly in the studio, on stage and at home.
- compact, handy format
- high-quality aluminum housing
- high performance capacity
- very low noise
- switchable amplification with five levels
- supports impedances from 8 to 600 ohms
- two headphone connectors
- suitable for permanent operation (does not get warm)
- internal setting of the jumpers a bit awkward
With the G103-P MKII, Lake Constance-based audio technology specialists Lake People have added an affordable headphone amplifier with high power reserves to their product range, and this allows for an internal five-fold adjustment of the amplification for low- to high-impedance headphones. Due to its handy format, the desktop device is versatile in both professional and home-use contexts.
The housing of the G103-P MKII, which weighs 715 grams, is made entirely of black anodised aluminium, which gives it a robust, and at the same time, high-quality feel. The unit is portable thanks to its dimensions of 105 millimetres in width, 42 millimetres in height and 165 millimetres in length, with a decorative front panel that protrudes slightly and measures 108 x 45 millimetres. In addition, four small rubber feet ensure a non-slip base.
Features of the Lake People G103-P MKII
The G103-P MKII’s power supply is provided by a three-pin IEC/CEE socket, which is located at the rear for the IEC cable with a Schuko plug. Next to it on the professional version are the balanced XLR inputs; this is identified by the “P” in the unit name. The standard version has the designation G103-S MKII and has unbalanced inputs in the form of cinch sockets. A power button for switching on and off is placed on the front, with a green LED below it indicating readiness for operation. Despite its compact design, the G103-P MKII has two 6.3mm headphone jacks which can be used in parallel but not separately, which is why the use of headphones with similar impedance is recommended. A 25mm rotary knob made of solid aluminium also serves as volume control, while a potentiometer made by Alps reliably does its job inside the cabinet.
To be able to adjust the gain of the G103-P MKII to the needs of a pair of headphones, five setting options (-6/ 0/ +6/ +12/ +18 dB) are available via jumpers on the circuit board. This means that the volume setting for ordinary listening is ideally aligned when the controller is at the 12 o’clock position, making fine-grained up and down control possible depending on the source material. This is a great feature! Especially since an optimally adjusted control range can help avoid sound that is too loud and may become harmful to your hearing. The enclosure can be opened via four screws: the two on the front panel with a 2.5mm Allen key and the two on the rear with a T10 Torx screwdriver.
In practice: using headphones from sensitive to sophisticated
The G103-P MKII supports headphones with an impedance of eight to 600 ohms, and this little powerhouse has no problems driving more power-hungry magnetostats or high-impedance models. Considerable power reserves of up to 1,240 milliwatts are available. When using sensitive IEMs, a shortened control range is available, which in the case of a Sennheiser IE 100 Pro, extends from 7:30 to 11 o’clock under normal conditions when the lowest gain level is selected. Otherwise, the G103-P MKII is extremely low-noise, does not get warm and is suitable for continuous operation. According to the manufacturer, this entry-level model from Lake People’s range of headphone amplifiers is produced in the company’s own factory by Lake Constance. And the build quality is impeccable.
Compared to a mobile solution like the Apogee Groove, sound reproduction via the G103-P MKII seems “cleaner”, more neutral and spacious. Live recordings of the 1969 Harlem Culture Festival, featured on the soundtrack of the documentary “Summer of Soul”, conveyed a spacious open-air atmosphere. Whether you are listening to the choral vocals on The 5th Dimension’s “Aquarius / Let The Sunshine In” or the lower-registered voices of the likes of Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King, Ray Barretto and Nina Simone. The G103-P MKII also provided a larger listening space for studio productions such as Yello’s “Electrified II”. However, models such as an HPA V202 from Violectric, the Constance-based company’s high-end brand for the hi-fi sector, have more spatial imaging. In a listening comparison with the DT 1990 Pro from Beyerdynamic, this model conveyed a more direct and flatter sound impression; however, this was perfectly fine considering the considerable price difference.
The G103-P MKII excels with its flawless midrange reproduction, which offers an impressive amount of detail and excellently illuminates voices. Especially when used in combination with headphones that have an affinity for voices, such as the Sennheiser HD 660 S, when a razor-sharp nearfield opens up. The harmonic double vocals of Dave Gahan and Martin Gore on “Wagging Tongue”, “My Favourite Stranger” or “Before We Drown” from the new Depeche Mode album “Memento Mori” are reproduced with noticeably more contrast, grip and precision than when listened to in combination with the Apogee Groove. Making this a real feast for the ears! The USB amp, on the other hand, had a fuller bass range with more substance in the low bass, as illustrated by the Trentemøller remix of “Moan”, and it sounded a little warmer in the midrange. In a positive sense, the G103-P MKII seemed more matter-of-fact and reproduced the high-frequency range with more contours as well as more details, which gave a somewhat more present impression. At the same time, it is possible to listen to or enjoy music at a moderate volume without becoming tired, as high levels were not required for sound to develop.
- Ear couplingAmplifier
- Weight with cable908 g
- Weight without cable715 g
What's in the box
- power cable
- operating instructions